Wednesday, December 5, 2018

'Rubbering' not allowed

This Christmas advertisement and an accompanying plea from the photographer, B. H. Williams, offer an amusing glimpse into life in Cuba City one hundred years ago.

Advertisement published in the Cuba City News-Herald, December 20, 1918.

As his advertisement indicates, Williams had much to offer potential clients in his photography studio. Unfortunately, he had less control over what was happening outside the studio. The photographer published this announcement one week earlier:
"Children are cautioned against causing a disturbance in front of the photograph gallery or “rubbering” in the windows while patrons are sitting for pictures. Parents are kindly requested to call the attention of their children to this and oblige. B. H. WILLIAMS."

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Dillon Donohoo Christmas advertising

One hundred years ago, Cuba City residents would have found this Christmas advertisement in the local newspaper. It is from Dillon Donohoo's store, which was located on Main Street, where Antiques and Salvage is today.

Advertisement published in the Cuba City News Herald, December 13, 1918.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

V.F.W. card table, ca 1952

Judging by its wear and tear, this card table once belonging to Cuba City's V.F.W. Auxiliary Post has seen a lot of use over the years. Does anyone remember using a table like this?

The multiple advertisements on the table's surface suggest that it dates back to about 1952. The following businesses and organizations are represented:

Cuba City:
Cuba City State Bank
Meusel's Cafe
Edge Gulf Service
Donohoo Furniture Company
Weber's Cash Market
Don's Tap
Loeffelholz Sheet Metal Shop and Farmers Appliance Store
The Friendly Tap
Farmer's Food Store
Ida's Cafe
Pinch's Super Market
Willey Insurance Agency
The Elmo Club
Dr. M. L. Kaster, Veterinarian
Consumer's Oil Company
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 8318
Fall River Canning Company
Mercury Cleaners
McNett Produce
Cuba City Greenhouse
Ben's Tavern
Florines Drug Store
Modern Beauty Shop
Tuckers Tavern
Kivlahan Coal Company
Fiedler Store
Latham Radio Shop
North Western Hotel & Tavern
Eustice Lumber Company
C. S. King, MD
Porter Coal and Feed Company

Bowl Mor Lanes
Gold Room Cocktail Lounge

Badger State Mineral Water Co.

Mineral Point:
Mineral Springs Brewing Co.

Philipps Distributing Company

Roger's Distributing Company

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

False Armistice, November 1918

At first glance, nothing seems amiss about this issue of the Cuba City News-Herald announcing the end of World War I, one hundred years ago.

But take a look at this newspaper's date: November 8, 1918. This is evidence of the "False Armistice," when inaccurate reports of the war's end spread like wildfire across the United States, days before Germany officially surrendered.

The nation was thrown into a frenzy of celebration, and Cuba City was no different. The News-Herald reported "the ringing of bells and the blowing of whistles," followed by a parade led by the remaining members of the Cuba City Military Band (nearly half of the band members were serving overseas). The procession traversed the city and stopped on Main Street, where revelers listened to patriotic speeches.

It's not clear at what point Cuba City residents learned that their celebrations were premature. The next edition of the newspaper, published on November 15, 1918, described a second round of celebrations that occurred when the true armistice was announced. The news reached Cuba City at around 4:30 a.m. on Monday, November 11. Leery of another false celebration, officials waited for a telegraph confirmation from Baraboo before spreading the word.

"Whistles were blown, bells were rung and citizens generally jumped out of their cozy beds to make merry over the joyous news." Another parade was formed and, after processing through the streets of Cuba City, revelers headed toward the government sulfuric acid plant southeast of town, where they met a celebrating crowd from Benton. The merrymakers returned to Cuba City and then on to Benton and Hazel Green, accompanied by the Benton Band and the Cuba City Military Band.

Speakers of the day included "W. R. Buchan, Dr. Kenny and Rev. Sainty, of Benton; Father Miller of Hazel Green and Father W. A. Banfield of Bankston, and Hon. S. E. Smalley of this city."

The epic day of celebration ended in Cuba City with a free dance at the Auditorium, compliments of the Loeffelholz Bros.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

James Nicholas, Early Resident

For those participating in No-Shave November, this image of early Cuba City resident James Nicholas might provide some inspiration.

James "Jimmy" Nicholas (1840-1906). Image from the Cuba City Centennial history. 

James Nicholas arrived with his parents and siblings in the 1840s, making them some of the earliest European settlers in the Cuba City area. They farmed just southeast of town, near present-day Wiederholt Enterprises and Cole Acres Golf Course.

The Nicholas family originated in Cornwall, but James was born near Cleveland, Ohio, before his parents settled in Wisconsin. 

James Nicholas was a Civil War veteran, though his service was brief. He enlisted in the 96th Illinois Infantry in March 1865, one month before General Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Private Nicholas spent time in Tennessee and Texas, after transferring to the 21st Illinois Infantry, and was discharged from the Army in December 1865. Military records provide fun details about James Nicholas, such as his height (5'7"), eye color (blue), and hair color (red). 

Nicholas was married twice and had six children. He spent most of his life farming but by 1900, he had moved from the farm to Cuba City and was living with his wife and youngest son, Elmer, in the Clemens Street area. He died in 1906, aged 66, and is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mining fever hits Cuba City

The tri-state area was long known for its prosperous lead mines, but by the early 1900s, a new mining boom had gripped the region. Improved technologies allowing miners to reach deeper ore, increased amounts of capital, and a skyrocketing market for another locally abundant mineral, zinc, spurred this new mining frenzy. 

This early image of Cuba City was printed in the Complete Year Book of Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa Lead and Zinc Mines, published by Skemp and Conley in 1906. The photograph of Main Street, facing north, captures much of the town's business district, likely in the late 1800s or early 1900s. For a point of reference, H. H. Fiedler's hardware store on the right is Hindu's Corner Bar today.

The Year Book had this to say about Cuba City at this exciting time:
The thriving little town of Cuba City claims the distinction of containing within its immediate environments as many of the larger mining plants as any point in the district. It is a bright business spot in the best end of the zinc range and contains a population of eleven hundred people. The mining boom has struck the town in earnest and the coming summer will mark the construction of several hundred houses and a corresponding increase in population. One of the good features of Cuba City is the fact that it is not compelled to rely upon the mines alone for its thrift, but is in the richest section of the stock-raising district of southwestern Wisconsin. Cuba City is bound to become a prominent point in the new El Dorado.

Cuba City as seen in the accompanying picture is only an illustration of one of its busy days and the merchants and wide-awake citizens who make up its community know no such word as fail.